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GA/AB/4162
8 October 2015
Seventieth Session, 1st Meeting (AM)

Budget Committee Approves Work Programme of Current Session, Reviews Scale for Calculating Member States’ Dues to United Nations

Members of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today called on each other to work together this session as they tackled a complex and ambitious agenda that included the Organization’s two‑year multi‑billion‑dollar budget for 2016-2017 and whether to re-adjust the methodology used over the next three years to assess Member States’ contribution to the regular budget as well as its peacekeeping operations.

At its organization meeting, the Committee approved a wide-ranging programme of work that enveloped crucial financial and human resources issues meant to help manage the Organization’s thousands of employees and keep it financially sustainable and running smoothly.  The Committee aimed to agree on a proposed multi-billion budget before wrapping its work on 11 December.

As in previous years, delegates urged the Secretariat to issue its reports in a timely manner so Member States had sufficient time to make well informed decisions.  Speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, South Africa’s delegate said he trusted the work programme would be realistic and complex agenda items would be distributed evenly over the session.  He also stressed the need for carrying out negotiations in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, rather than in small group configurations.

Delegates then took up the scale of assessments and whether and how the complex methodology used to determine Member States’ contribution to United Nations expenses and its peacekeeping operations, two different calculations, might be revised.  The complex methodology is reviewed every three years and used to assess the financial contributions each Member State makes to the regular budget and to the peacekeeping operations.

The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation said it was very important to make the right decisions on the scale of assessments for the regular budget and the peacekeeping budget to ensure the Organization’s sustainability and improve its effectiveness and efficiency.  The work of the Committee on Contributions merited the Fifth Committee’s full attention.  The assessment for peacekeeping operations should reflect the capacity to pay of Member States and the special responsibility of the permanent members of the Security Council.  Discounts should be based on each Member State’s individual capacity to pay, in accordance with objective and comparable criteria.

The representative of the United States said her country still consistently supported the principle that every Member State bore the responsibility for contributing toward the expenses of the Organization’s operations.  It had always maintained that no one country should shoulder an outsized share of the budget.

Singapore’s delegate, speaking for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), emphasized that the permanent members of the Council had special responsibilities to maintain peace and security, which had to be considered in connection with their contributions to peacekeeping financing.

Speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Jamaica’s representative said that the peacekeeping scale should reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries and give due consideration to small island developing States and countries with small populations.  While those countries might have nominally high per capita income, the placement of developing countries above Level C in the scale was not acceptable as it failed to represent a fair and balanced treatment of the economic realities of Member States.  The Bahamas, for example, had been placed in Level B, a level which should be reserved for developed countries.

During the meeting, Bernardo Greiver, Chair of the Committee on Contributions, introduced the report of that body’s seventy-fifth session held in New York from 1 June to 26 June.

Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller of the Department of Management’s Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on multi-year payment plans and his report on the implementation of General Assembly resolutions 55/235 and 55/236, referring to the scale of assessment of peacekeeping operations.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Republic of Tanzania (on behalf of the African Group), Ecuador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Japan, China, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Qatar (on behalf of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) and Algeria.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 October, to discuss programme planning and the programme budget biennium 2014-2015 agenda items.

Organization of Work

EPHRAIM LESHALA MMINELE (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations also would be an extraordinary session for the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) as both the budget and the scale of assessments were being negotiated during the same session, an event that happened only every six years.  It would be crucial for the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) to ensure that Member States received the reports well in advance as the Committee faced an increasingly heavy and complex workload.  He stressed that Member States’ ability to consider the reports and adequately prepare for negotiations was being undermined by the reports’ late issuance.  “Unfortunately, we are still witnessing a situation where the issuance of reports is determining the priorities for Member States and thus the work programme of the Committee,” he said.  “We believe the reverse should be true.”

The Group of 77 and China trusted that the scheduling of items would be given careful consideration to ensure that agenda items with a large volume of reports would be distributed evenly, he said.  The Group also trusted that the Committee’s Bureau would continue to strive to ensure the programme of work was realistic and reflected the collective membership’s interests.  The Group was ready to consider and conclude all agenda items and viewed them all as equally important.  The Group had always stressed the principle of carrying out negotiations in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, rather than in small group configurations.  It would approach the session with a view to ensuring a successful outcome.

JUSTIN KISOKA (United Republic of Tanzania), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Group aligned itself with the statement made by the Group of 77.  Acknowledging the heavy workload ahead of the Budget Committee, he urged the Secretariat to issue the remaining reports on time.  African States would pay close attention to such topics as the budget performance and proposals, the United Nations common system, the Organization’s pension system, issues related to the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the special political missions, the global delivery service model, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the financing of tribunals, and additional funding for the peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The Group would also closely follow discussions on the arrangement of new mandates arising from the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related framework for financing development, he said.  Regarding Member States in arrears in contribution payment under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter, the issue must be resolved immediately so that concerned countries could participate in the decisions by the General Assembly.  Negotiations in this Committee must be conducted in an open, inclusive and transparent manner within allocated time.

AMÉRICA LOURDES PEREIRA SOTOMAYOR (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that the programme of work for the current session included topics of great importance to the Community, including the 2016-2017 biennium programme budget, scale of assessment, the report on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and some issues connected to the programme budget for the Strategic Heritage Plan for the United Nations Office in Geneva, the United Nations common system and financing and backstopping support for the special political mission.

As for the importance of the “capacity to pay” principle as the main guide for deliberations, she said it positively took into account the development challenges faced by developing countries.  The Community believed that the current methodology, with the exception of the ceiling, adequately reflected fluctuations in the relative economic situation of Member States and, over time, constituted a sound formula for apportioning the expenses of the United Nations.  On the financing of special political missions through the regular budget, the Community felt that the distortion caused by such an arrangement placed great pressure on the resources that should be allocated to such areas as development.  That important issue must be addressed urgently to reach a final settlement.

IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said this year’s session was particularly heavy and completing the programme of work before the 11 December end date would require a collective effort from everyone.  “We do believe we can achieve this goal if we conduct our negotiations effectively and in a constructive spirit,” she said and stressed the importance of timely and simultaneous submission of all required documentation in all official languages, particularly time-bound issues that had implications for the 2016-2017 regular budget.  Regarding the regular budget, the European Union reaffirmed its long-standing position that a piecemeal approach needed to be avoided as such an approach would substantially increase an already agreed programme budget.  The European Union would continue to question the incremental and unpredictable nature of United Nations budgets and introduce reform proposals to that end.

In the current difficult economic climate, the same strict budgetary discipline Member States were applying to their own budgets should be used for the United Nations budgets, she said.  The European Union would work with all Committee members and the Secretariat on the basis of the proposed $5.57 billion budget for 2016-2017 to examine together, in an open manner, whether new approaches could lead to a more sustainable path for the Organization.  It would also scrutinize the budgets of the special political missions.  It was important to recall the Assembly’s decision last April, which stressed the need for a comprehensive solution to the problem of recosting and asked the Secretary-General to look at improvements in the methodology.  European Union member States were willing to work on that question and address recosting for the 2014-2015 and 20116-2017 budget cycles.  The European Union looked forward to considering the proposals of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) on the comprehensive review of the compensation system for Professional-level staff, as requested by the Assembly about two years ago.

HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) said that the Committee had set unfortunate precedents of extending the session past Christmas in the past two years.  That must not be repeated.  The Committee could conclude its work on time by keeping question-and-answer sessions to a minimum and by starting “real” negotiations as early as possible.  Recalling Assembly resolution 41/213 adopted in 1986, he said the Committee had kept its tradition of deciding financial matters by consensus.  That principle must not be undermined.  For the Committee, this year was the lunar year which came every six years, in which both the scale of assessment and the biennium regular budget were discussed.  His delegation would engage in constructive discussion with a view to achieving the common goal of a more efficient and effective United Nations.

ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States) said that the important week of discussions by world leaders on climate change and sustainable development this month showed that the United Nations was an important organization aimed at peace and prosperity.  Yet it could be far more effective.  As Governments worldwide faced budget constraints, the United Nations had to push for more consistency and restraints in its budget practices.  She appreciated the Secretary-General’s efforts to streamline the budget process and promote consistency.  Umoja, the enterprise resource planning system, would be a powerful tool for managers and enable the use of the Global Service Delivery Model.  It was long overdue.

The Organization’s budget practices had to take a bottom-up approach, she said.  The United States was deeply frustrated by the Organization’s reliance on incremental budgeting.  The Organization could not return to business as usual with unsustainable budget growth.  The only viable United Nations would be an affordable one.  There could not be an automatic presumption that budget increases would go along with new mandates.  There would need to be shifts in the budget from mandates that had run their course into new ones.  The next budget must be substantially lower than the present one.  The United States was distressed by the continued use of recosting, which was contrary to the use of budget principles.  All Committee members shared a common purpose in seeing an effective, vibrant United Nations.

XUEJUN GUO (China) stressed the importance of “reciprocal spirit” and the need to complete the Committee’s work on time, as the current session must discuss many matters.  In that regard, he was concerned by the delay in the preparation of documents by the Secretariat and the ACABQ, urging a timely issuance of reports.

CHUNG BYUNG-HA (Republic of Korea) said that the current methodology for the scale of assessments, which had been in place since 2000, should reflect Member States’ capacity to pay in an equitable and sustainable manner, stressing the need to address the adjustment factors, namely the debt-burden adjustment and the low per-capita income adjustment, that often led to a disconnect between capacity to pay and the scale of assessment.  The proposed 2016-2017 budget of $5.57 billion exceeded the budget outline level the Committee had agreed in December 2014 by $10 million.  There was also a need to examine the effects on the actual expenditure of new mandates stemming from such decisions as the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the report of the High-level Independent Panel on United Nations peacekeeping operations, and other human rights resolutions.  He also welcomed the ICSC report on the United Nations common system, document A/70/30, and the efforts to review and improve the existing staff payroll system.

SERGEY V. KHALIZOV (Russian Federation) said there were many complex problems on the Committee’s agenda and there would be difficult and tense work to do during the current session.  He trusted that the discussions would lead to effective decisions.  The budget talks would be very significant and there were many demands on the budget.  Any proposals for additional appropriations had to be well founded.  The Russian Federation wanted transparency in the budget process.  The scale of assessments would be another difficult issue to deal with during the session.  He stressed that any scale methodology should be the based on the ability of Member States to pay.  Reports on the reform process would also have to be considered.  There needed to be clear information on all proposals to let Member States make their decisions.  Infrastructure projects would be another complex issue to consider.  He assured the Committee and the Chairman of the ACABQ of the Russian Federation’s cooperation during this session.

ANA CRISTINA RODRIGUEZ PINEDA (Guatemala) said that every six years, the Committee took up three key items altogether, namely the scale of assessment, the regular budget and the financing of peacekeeping operations.  Those issues were complex and reflected mandates stemming from outcomes of intergovernmental negotiations.  She urged respect for the programme of work and improvement of the Committee’s working methods, taking into account many proposals by delegations, including those by the former Committee Chair on promotion of the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.  Key review processes were under way, including those on peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding architecture and women’s participation in peace and security.  Many commitments related to those processes would be considered by the Committee during the current session.  Nothing was more political and contentious than the budget.  Therefore, trust and pragmatism must prevail.

 

Scale of Assessments for Apportionment of United Nations Expenses

BERNARDO GREIVER, Chair of the Committee on Contributions, introduced that body’s report (document A/70/11), which covered its seventy-fifth session held in New York from 1 June to 26 June.  The Contributions Committee’s latest review of the elements of methodology of the scale of assessments, undertaken to reflect Member States’ capacity to pay, was detailed in chapter III, part A, of the report.  The Contributions Committee agreed that the low per capita income adjustment continued to be an essential element in the scale’s methodology.  Committee members considered various options and had different views on the merits of various alternatives.  The body agreed that an alternative approach could be the world average per capita debt-adjusted Gross National Income (GNI), rather than the unadjusted per capital GNI used in the current methodology.  That would address the asymmetry of comparing the debt-adjusted GNI of Member States against an adjustment threshold based on the unadjusted GNI.  An inflation-adjusted threshold was another approach. The Contributions Committee decided to consider the element further in the light of guidance from the Assembly.

The current methodology included a maximum assessment rate, or ceiling, of 22 per cent; a maximum rate for the least developed countries, or LDC ceiling, of 0.010 per cent; and a minimum assessment rate, or floor, of 0.001 per cent, he said.  The Contributions Committee considered other suggestions and possible elements of the scale methodology, including large scale-to-scale changes in the rates of assessment and discontinuity, which were detailed in chapter III B, section 1.  Annual recalculation of the scale had first been considered in 1997 and since then been considered several times.  The primary benefits and drawbacks of annual recalculation were detailed in chapter III B, section 2 of the report.

As indicated in chapter V of the report, the Contributions Committee concluded that the failure of five Member States — the Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Yemen — to pay the full minimum amount to avoid the use of Article 19 was due to conditions beyond their control.  The Contributions Committee recommended they be permitted to vote until the end of the current session.

BETTINA TUCCI BARTSIOTAS, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts, Department of Management, introduced the Secretary General’s report on multi-year payment plans (document A/70/69), the thirteenth annual report on the issue, as well as his report on the implementation of General Assembly resolutions 55/235 and 55/236 (document A/70/331) regarding the scale of assessment of peacekeeping operations.

Since the introduction of the multi-year payment plans, six Member States had successfully implemented such plans enabling them to pay their assessed contributions in full, she said.  The remaining plan was submitted by Sao Tome and Principle in 2002 and the report contained the status of its implementation, as of 31 December 2014.  Sao Tome and Principe made a subsequent payment in June 2015, which was reported to the Committee during its June 2015 session.  No new payment plans had been submitted in recent years though several Member States had indicated they were considering the matter.

Ms. Bartsiotas said resolution 55/235 established a new system whereby the rates of assessment for peacekeeping operations were based on the United Nations regular budget rates.  The system was based on a number of criteria, including average per capita GNI, which was used to place each Member State in a contribution level.  The Assembly asked the Secretary-General to update the list of countries in each contribution level every three years, in conjunction with the review of the regular budget scale of assessment.  In establishing the system, the Assembly decided that Member States with the lowest levels of per capital GNI would receive the highest discount in the peacekeeping scale, unless they indicated a decision to move to a higher level.

With resolution 55/236, the Assembly welcomed the voluntary commitment of a number of Member States to contribute to peacekeeping operations at a rate higher than required by their per capita income, she said.  The rate of assessment for peacekeeping operations was last considered at the sixty-seventh session and in resolution 67/239, the Assembly reaffirmed the principles set out in resolution 55/235.  The Assembly also recognized the need to reform the current methodology apportioning the expenses of the peacekeeping operations and decided to review the structure of the levels during this session.  The updated composition of levels included in the report, subject to any adjustments that may arise from the Assembly’s review, would be used to determine each Member State’s peacekeeping rate of assessment for the period of 2016-2018.  The effective rates would only be determined once a new regular budge scale was adopted.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa), speaking for the Group of 77 and China, urged the Budget Committee to promptly endorse a recommendation by the Contributions Committee that the Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Yemen be permitted to vote until the end of the current session of the Assembly, given the special and genuine difficulties that temporarily prevented them from meeting their financial obligations under Article 19 of the Charter.  Multi-year payment plans should remain voluntary and not be used to exert pressure on Member States already in difficult circumstances.  Those plans should not be a factor to determine Article 19 exemptions.  The Group rejected any attempt to increase the contributions of developing countries by modifying the current methodology for the regular budget scale of assessments.  Such moves would only generate unproductive discussions without consensual outcomes.  The methodology’s core elements, such as base period, GNI, conversion rates, low per capita income adjustment, gradient, floor, ceiling for least developed countries and debt stock adjustment, “are not negotiable”.

The Contributions Committee’s report devoted seven pages on debt burden adjustment and low per capita income adjustment but half a page on the ceiling, he said.  The Group would seek more analysis of the neglected elements during informal consultations.  The 22 per cent ceiling was introduced in 2000 to facilitate the payment of arrears and thus improve the financial health of the United Nations.  The Group looked forward to a briefing on 15 October to examine if that rationale had been met.  On financing peacekeeping operations, the Group’s Ministerial Declaration of 24 September 2015 stressed that the scale of assessments should clearly reflect the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council for the maintenance of peace and security.  It also stressed that no member of the Group of 77 and China that was not a permanent member of the 15‑nation body should be categorized above Level C.  The developing countries were not in a position to give up the current level of discounts.

KAREN TAN (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), aligned her association with the Group of 77 and China’s statements on both agenda items.  On the scale of assessments for the regular budget, she reiterated that all Member States had to fulfil their obligations to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions.  The current methodology for the scale of assessments had been adopted by consensus for 15 years.  The longstanding consensus demonstrated confidence that the current methodology adequately reflected the “capacity to pay” principle.  ASEAN member States would not support proposals that aimed to distort the principal or increased the contributions of developing countries.  She repeated the Group of 77 and China’s positon that the 22 per cent maximum ceiling was the only element of the methodology that contradicted the principle and it must be addressed.

Regarding the peacekeeping scale, ASEAN member States stressed that the permanent members of the Security Council had special responsibilities to maintain peace and security, which had to be considered in connection with their contributions to peacekeeping financing.  Permanent Council members should continue to absorb the discounts applied to other Member States in the peacekeeping scale.  ASEAN was concerned by the automatic graduation of developing countries to Level B.  Automatic graduation was contrary to the principles laid out in Assembly resolution 55/235 on the need for a clear differentiation of burden-sharing for peacekeeping financing between developed and developing countries.  ASEAN called for the reassignment of all developing countries in Level B to Level C.

GHANIM AL-HUDAIFI AL-KUWARI (Qatar), speaking on behalf of Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, said that the Group enjoyed observer status at the United Nations and attached great importance to the multi-dimensional nature of peacekeeping operations, whose mandates went beyond maintenance of international peace and security to include regional stability, protection of civilians and protection of human rights.  Therefore, peacekeeping operations must be allocated sufficient resources.  All States had a collective responsibility to share payments and the permanent members of the Security Council had an obligation to pay more.  In contrast, economically less developed countries had limited capacity.  No developing country that was not a permanent Council member should be classified above Level C in the peacekeeping scale.  He called for transparency in negotiations on this topic and rejected an automatic graduation of developing countries to Level B.

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking for Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the peacekeeping scale should reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries, giving due consideration to small island developing States and countries with small populations.  Those countries might have nominally high per capita income, which gave a perception that they were high income countries.  The placement of developing countries above Level C in the scale was not acceptable as it failed to represent a fair and balanced treatment of the economic realities of Member States.  At present, the Bahamas had been regrettably placed in Level B, a level which should be reserved for developed countries.  Corrective measures should be taken to restore the balance between developed and developing countries.  Some Caribbean countries with high levels of public debt could not or should not be expected to bear the same financial burden as developed countries.  The English speaking Caribbean countries had a ratio of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) at 70 per cent on average, exceeding the 60 per cent threshold considered by many economists as unsustainable.

AMÉRICA LOURDES PEREIRA SOTOMAYOR (Ecuador), speaking for CELAC, said the Community had carefully reviewed the requests by the Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Yemen for exemption under Article 19 of the Charter, and was convinced that their inability to make the payments was due to “conditions beyond their control”.  The Community felt that the Committee should endorse a recommendation to allow them to vote in the Assembly during its seventieth session.  No changes to the current methodology for the scale of assessments were necessary.  But the Assembly should review the maximum assessment rate, or the ceiling, which had been fixed as a political compromise and was contrary to the principle of the “capacity to pay”.

IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said it was very important to make the right decisions on the scale of assessment for the regular budget and the peacekeeping budget to ensure the Organization’s sustainability and improve its effectiveness and efficiency.  The current methodology had led to a scale of assessments that no longer accurately reflected the “capacity to pay” principle.  That had been expressly recognized by the Assembly in its resolution 67/238 in December 2012, in which it agreed on the methodology and scale of assessments for the 2013-2015 period and asked the Committee on Contributions to review and make recommendations on the elements of the methodology to reflect Member States’ capacity to pay, and report its findings by the Assembly’s seventieth session.  The review provided the Fifth Committee with a valuable technical basis for its work.  There was room to improve the methodology to reflect a more equitable and balanced distribution of financial responsibilities among Member States, according to their capacity to pay.

The Contributions Committee’s analysis merited the Fifth Committee’s full attention and the European Union was willing to work constructively on the issue, he said.  The European Union was content to endorse the recommendations of the Contributions Committee permitting the countries that requested exemption under Article 19 to vote in the Assembly until the end of the current session.  Regarding the scale of assessments for peacekeeping operations, he said the reform of those assessments in 2000 was meant to provide an equitable and stable financial basis for peacekeeping.  The assessments should reflect the capacity to pay of Member States and the special responsibility of the permanent Security Council members.  Discounts should be based on each Member States’ individual capacity to pay, in accordance with objective and comparable criteria.

SHIGETOSHI NAGAO (Japan) said his country had been the second largest contributor to the United Nations for the last three decades and had paid all its assessments on time and in full.  Japan used to pay more than 20 per cent of the total budget of the Organization.  It accepted such a high rate because it felt that the assessments reflected the economic realities of the time.  Member States should understand that the changes in the scale of assessments proposed in the report of the Contributions Committee reflected the current economic realities of each country.  The peacekeeping scale took into account the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council.  Should Japan become a permanent member of the body, it would be willing to bear a share equivalent to its “special responsibilities”.

ISOBEL COLEMAN (United States) said that as a founding member of the United Nations, the United States had consistently supported the principle that every Member State bore the responsibility for contributing toward the expenses of the Organization’s operations.  It still believed strongly in that principle.  It also believed Member States should be assessed according to their capacity to pay, even if the principle was not always a straight-forward process.  From the beginning, the Contributions Committee had warned that Member States should not seek “unduly to minimize their contributions.”  The United States had always maintained that no one country should shoulder an outsized share of the budget.  In that spirit, the United States agreed to the current negotiated ceiling of 22 per cent, just as it had previously agreed to a ceiling for the least developed countries.

XUEJUN GUO (China) paid tribute to the proposals submitted in the Secretariat reports.  The statement by the Group of 77 reflected the common concerns of the developing countries.  Countries’ capacity to pay was an important consideration as the budget process moved ahead.  Countries should pay their dues in a timely manner.  The Committee had adopted a solid methodology for the scale of assessments and it should remain in place for three years.  While not perfect, it was a consensus achieved over a decade of work and its continuation provided stability for the United Nations.  The Secretary‑General’s budget should be based on facts.  A spirit of partnership was needed during the budget process, which should be transparent and inclusive.  It was necessary to avoid politicizing the process and to find a solution that was acceptable to all.  The current methodology was based on countries’ capacity to pay.  A shift in methodology would result in a significant increase in China’s assessed contributions.  China was a developing country despite its size.  He opposed any practice that treated China differently than any other developing country.  Any change in methodology should be fair.

MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) said the core elements of the current methodology must be maintained but noted that the 22 per cent ceiling for major contributors had been set as a political compromise and in contrary to the “capacity to pay” principle.  The Contributions Committee’s report devoted a significant part of its analysis to some elements of the methodology at the expense of the rest.  The organizations with enhanced observer status, with privileges and rights, including the right to speak in the Assembly debate and the right of reply, should equally be called to bear a fair share of the budget of the United Nations.

For information media. Not an official record.